Music Technology Researcher Wants to Give You Goose Bumps


Malrey Head

Sidebar Content
No sidebar content submitted.

Summary Sentence:

Alexander Lerch and a student are conducting research to understand more about how music affects people.

Full Summary:

Alexander Lerch and a student are conducting research to understand more about how music affects people.

  • Alexander Lerch and Siddharth Kumar Gururani Alexander Lerch and Siddharth Kumar Gururani

Imagine a device that knows your musical taste so well it can scour the internet and find the perfect songs for you – the ones that give you goose bumps.

Alexander Lerch, a researcher at the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology, and his Ph.D. student are helping technology move in that direction. They are conducting research on machine learning and music information retrieval, which enables the extraction of information from audio files.

The more we know about music, the more we can understand how music affects people. For example, we want to know why music can make you have goose bumps. Ultimately, we might be able to create music that triggers that response, Lerch said.

He said that his research is where the industry is headed, and search engines, music streaming services, ads, and content providers could use the results.

Lerch and the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology (GTCMT) have received industry sponsorship for this research. It is the Center’s first industry sponsorship to solely support student research.

Gracenote, an entertainment data and technology company, is funding the research of this Ph.D. student. Gracenote’s technology powers the top music services, consumer electronics companies, automakers, media companies, and cable and satellite operators.

Markus Cremer, Vice President of Applied Research at Gracenote, declined to talk specifically about this research, but he said the company definitely finds this research important. “These technologies are particularly useful for browsing through large catalogs of songs quickly and efficiently,” he said.

“Gracenote has actively supported the research community in this field for more than a decade,” Cremer noted.

“Alexander’s team at Georgia Tech stands out as one of just a very few that effectively combines research focus with applicability,” he said. “We’ve been impressed with the level of knowledge, passion and problem-solving skills we have seen from everyone coming out of the Georgia Tech program from new hires to interns.”

Gil Weinberg echoes this praise for Lerch, who is also an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Music.

Weinberg, director of the Center, said Lerch came to Georgia Tech with an impressive background both in academia and industry.

“It is not surprising therefore that he would be the first faculty to bring industry research sponsorship to GTCMT. Gracenote's sponsorships demonstrates that Alexander’s groundbreaking research in music informatics can lead to strong impact not only in academic circles, but also in the continuously growing music technology industry,” he said.

Ph.D. student Siddharth Kumar Gururani is working with Lerch. He had been enrolled in the master’s program and did so well that after one year Lerch said they chose to invite him to join the Ph.D. program.

"Combining my computer science research with my passion for music was always a dream. Gracenote and the Center for Music Technology enabled me to do exactly that with the (music information retrieval) project," Gururani said.

Gururani has been working with Lerch for a few months now, and hopefully will be able to continue the research.

Cremer said that Gracenote plans to continue funding the research beyond the initial nine months.

Lerch said the field of music information retrieval is only about 10 to 15 years old and he is only one of a few people doing this work. He combines his engineering and music training in his research, which is at the intersection of signal processing, artificial intelligence, and music analysis.

His research focuses on creating the next generation of music software technology, enabling new ways of understanding, creating, accessing, and listening to music. His main research areas are Music Information Retrieval, Audio Content Analysis, and Intelligent Signal Processing.

Additional Information


CMT - Center for Music Technology, College of Design, School of Music

Institute and Campus, Student and Faculty, Digital Media and Entertainment, Music and Music Technology
Related Core Research Areas
No core research areas were selected.
Newsroom Topics
No newsroom topics were selected.
No keywords were submitted.
  • Created By: Malrey Head
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jun 6, 2017 - 10:12am
  • Last Updated: Jun 6, 2017 - 1:38pm